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Show Don’t Tell: Demonstrating Leadership on Your Resume

Show Don't Tell: Demonstrating Leadership on Your Resume

Leadership skills are some of the most sought-after competencies in successful businesses. Without proper guidance, teams do not communicate effectively, managers can miss potential opportunities, and revenues fall. 

By investing in an attractive salary and benefits package for an expert leader, businesses can enjoy a substantial return on investment and a more conducive working environment. 

However, as an executive, how do you display your leadership attributes on your resume? This task can be especially challenging if you are an aspiring leader with relatively little prior management experience.

Fortunately, you can utilize several effective techniques to get your resume into the right hands and win that coveted interview invitation. 

Tailor Your Resume to Fit the Job Advertisement

Many companies don’t have time to sift through hundreds of resumes, and they utilize Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to perform this task for them. An ATS looks for specific keywords and rejects applications that don’t contain these terms or phrases. 

You can get ahead of many rivals by studying the job application’s language and reiterating those phrases on your resume. Not only will this technique get your application past the ATS and into the hands of a real person, but the recruiter is more likely to be impressed. 

Employers like to use their time efficiently, and when they see the exact specifications they require listed on your resume, they naturally want to learn more about the candidate. 

Provide Specific Examples

One of the most effective ways to impress a recruiter is to be specific about your achievements. Stating that you led a sales team doesn’t tell a potential employer how you can help their company. However, explaining that you managed 20 sales staff for three years, expanding into new markets, and growing revenue by 30% displays successful leadership experience. 

While you may not be allowed to use particular figures from your current or previous roles, try to make your achievements quantifiable where possible. Recruiters often have difficult decisions to make when choosing between candidates, and specific details can be an influential factor. 

An essential part of being a leader involves helping staff to enhance their skills and advance to new opportunities, so describe how you created an atmosphere for personal growth within your team. List how many people achieved a promotion or increased their skillset under your management.

Highlight Communication Skills

An effective leader requires superb communication skills to work with their team members, liaise with executives that manage other departments, and report to superiors. Leadership Communication skills

Highlight examples of when you’ve displayed exceptional listening and verbal skills. These illustrations could be when you’ve presented at a seminar, organized meetings or team-building activities, or arranged social occasions with partner companies. 

Use Leadership Vocabulary

Your resume is your chance to get yourself in front of a recruiter, but you won’t get that opportunity if you don’t sound like a leader. Managing staff members requires you to think objectively and see the bigger picture. When writing your resume, utilize words such as guide, stimulate, coach, encourage, build, delegate, and lead. 

The recruiter should feel like each resume section is a testament to your leadership abilities. Ensure each separate field in your resume could stand alone and still identify you as a high-caliber manager.

Be Honest

Leaders need to be honest, so don’t try to claim you have specific management experience if you can’t back it up with facts. There is often no need to exaggerate your achievements in any case. 

Many top companies are willing to invest in training their leadership teams and mentoring them through the learning experience. If you can demonstrate enthusiasm to learn, you stand considerably more chance of landing the job than inflating your achievements.

Leadership Experience Outside the Workplace

If you are an aspiring leader, your resume may not include a lot of relevant workplace management experience. However, what have you achieved away from the office? Perhaps you’ve managed the local sports team, organized fundraising events, or led a local volunteer body? 

You can include these activities as examples of when you’ve shown leadership qualities. Utilize the same language as you would use for workplace management endeavors, and you’ll immediately portray yourself as having leadership potential.

Display Your Commitment

Leaders are ambitious by nature, and companies may have concerns some candidates are using the position as a stepping stone to greater things. Show you are also a committed team member by listing projects you have led from start to finish. Recruiters will be impressed by leaders who don’t leave projects half-finished before moving on to new opportunities. 

Emphasize Your Leadership Traits

Leadership executives can help their resumes get into the right hands by making it easy for the recruiter to know you’re the right person for the role. Ensure each resume section reinforces the belief that you’re a natural leader. 

Many executives make small changes to their resume before applying for a job, so they relate to a particular role and the company advertising the job. However, when you’re applying for a leadership position, every paragraph of your resume should inform the recruiter why they need to rush to hire you before someone else does.


Also Read: What Should a Thank-You Note Look Like After an Executive Interview?


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